Hello from Gloria’s mom’s front porch. It’s a beautiful day to relax at my little patio table, with a cup of coffee in my favorite mug. It’s a “sisters” mug and yes, of course, it comes from one of my two sisters. They both live 400 miles from here. Daniel, Gloria, and their flock of six children are spending a week in Danville, Ohio, with “Ohio Dawdys (grandpas).”
My thoughts go to a week ago, and I smile. David and I joined his six siblings and five partners (one sister is a widow)—for a trip to Arkansas. We were gone from Monday morning to Friday evening. We started a Raber family tradition four years ago, and it’s one of those traditions that are so, so, cherished!
Every other year, the siblings go on a trip. On the in-between years, we have a big Raber family reunion, which includes all our children and grandchildren. That’s quite a crowd anymore with well over 100 people! Of course, not everybody can come.
This was our siblings’ third trip. Four years ago, we were in Montana, and two years ago, we went to the Smoky Mountains. Dear grandma was with us yet for the Montana trip. She passed away a year later, at age 80. We have many, many good memories of grandma, her warm hospitality, and good cooking
This time around, we siblings were cruising down the highway on Monday morning at 3 o’clock in a 15 passenger van. Close to our destination, in AR, which was over 500 miles away, we picked up several more siblings that had flown in by plane. We live in four different states. Our week consisted of visiting Hot Springs, touring some fish farms, a pontoon day, and last but not least, lots of “family time.” And of course, lots of good food! One of the highlights for me was us ladies having “ladies time” one day while all the men went fishing.
The men were out the door by 4:30 a.m. We ladies gratefully and gladly stayed in bed and looked forward to a leisurely day. Sister Edna had volunteered to make breakfast. I’m not even sure what time it was exactly when we ate, but I remember that it was so good and special.
We seven ladies sat around a round table that was beautifully set. The menu with egg muffins, Little Smokies wrapped in soft pretzel dough then baked, coated fruit salad, mini Graham teddies, Hoho slices, and homemade Orange Julius drink. The fruit and drinks were in goblets, and there were cute little bowls to put sauces in for the little smoky wraps.
We took our time and enjoyed being together. Somehow God designed that sitting around a table and enjoying a meal together makes fellowship a step better. After breakfast, we gathered around in the living room and shared a little “deeper.” Ladies being ladies can often just feel each other! Edna had brought small tubs and foot soak salts along, so we enjoyed foot soaks as we relaxed and talked. And by the way, the men did catch fish, which they fried the following evening!
Last week, one thing that really stood out to me was that, although David and his siblings aren’t exactly on the same page with some of life’s issues, they are still family. The time together was beautiful. It strengthened family ties. Time together with family makes me ponder…Probably a lot of you readers have faced, or are facing strained relationships with family or friends, etc. I know that is painful, and my heart goes out to any of you facing or are going through such a trauma.
I have a tidbit that I would like to share with you – try love. Love, even when it’s not fair. Love, even when you think they are wrong and you are right (and surprise! I have found out we humans aren’t always as right as we think we are). Love, even when it seems or feels brutally hard to do so. Allow the love of God to flow through you and out to others. You will be amazed at the blessings and the healing that will come to your own life! Love is powerful. Love conquers so much.
Blessings to you all, and a big warm thank you to all of you who have supported and been there for Daniel, Gloria, and family! It’s been heartwarming. One of my joys as a mom and grandma is to pop into Daniel’s home and observe family life. They live where we used to live, so there’s a whole new set of memories being made there.
As I go and observe, I see a whole lot of love mixed with direction and guidance for the children. Having a daily schedule keeps things flowing. When I was a young mom, I definitely didn’t want to be as “old “as I am now! But now that I’m here (in the 50s), I don’t feel old at all and enjoy this stage of life so much! I am deciding that each stage has a beauty of its own. And on a side note – I read once that old age is always 15 years older than what you are yourself.
With the summer picnic season upon us, I thought I’d share my pasta salad recipe with you. It’s always a hit and you can adjust and add almost any vegetable to it.
Dorcas Raber’s super pasta salad
-16 oz pasta, your choice (rainbow colored or shell shaped or spiral or whatever you prefer)
-12 ounces Italian dressing
-12 ounces Ranch dressing
-2 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese
-1 cup Ham chunks or pepperoni slices
-1 cup olives
-2 sliced Roma tomatoes
-Any veggie of your choice can be added
Bring 16 cups of water to a roaring boil, adding a dash of salt to the water. Add pasta and let boil for 10 minutes.
Let pasta cool or run under cold water to speed up the process.
Add the dressings and stir until all the pasta is uniformly coated.
Add the rest of the ingredients and let chill overnight. Add a little bit more of each dressing in the morning and stir again.